Yesterday we docked at Labadee, Haiti for a day of fun in the sun at RCI’s private island. To be clear it’s actually a small section of the island, but it was still fun. The tendering process went very well and all of our power wheelchair and scooter-users were able to get off the ship. At the pier there were RCI employees with beach wheelchairs waiting for folks who could not make the short walk to the beach.
The beach wheelchairs are great, but the island staff wanted to use them as transport chairs. This may work for some slow walkers, but it really takes away the independence of full time wheelchair-users. In any case, several folks in our group did manage to keep the beach wheelchairs for the day, but they had to be really insistent about it. The porters who pushed the wheelchairs wanted to take them back and make folks transfer to lounge chairs. Obviously this will not work for everybody.
I also have to say that this problem is not unique to RCI, as I’ve received complaints about it from folks who have cruised on a variety of different lines. The only words of advice I can give you is to be firm and insist that you keep the beach wheelchair. After all, you are pretty much in the drivers seat once you are sitting in a beach wheelchair – it’s not like they are going to dump you out against your will. So be firm and insist on staying in the beach wheelchair for the day. You’ll have a much more enjoyable private island experience!